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Poster: secret8476 Date: Jul 15, 2008 4:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Ok - i will prolly get ripped a new one for even bringing this up - but really ... does everyone think Donna was really that horrible?
I say this because when i first started listening to the dead many many moons ago - one of my first bootlegs was with donna - i think it was a madison, wi. show at umm - eh - it was the university thats all i know. Anywho - there were a couple of really nice Donna digs in there, and i use to think she did a decent job. Of course since then, i have had the pleasure of hearing her Massacre certain songs to a degree that even sound less harmonious then two alley cats fuckin'.
But - my point is that i thought Donna had some nice moments. i guess my question overall is- was she more bad than good?

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

This came up a while ago and I did some searching and found this which I at least found informative at the time:
http://www.archive.org/iathreads/post-view.php?id=179482

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:26am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Don't trust anything the intial poster in that thread writes....

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:38am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

LOL

Never trust a lawyer, my best friend is one so I know these things.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

If he's a lawyer, then he's not really a friend (wolf in sheep's clothing).

Will get out T-Heads this weekend; the Pink Floyd filler is NOT on my discs, just in the notes. If you're interested in any vintage live Marley, I can send a few of those shows your way as well.

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Sounds like a plan. I never saw Bob M live, my buddy at college saw him at Patrick Gym UVM and said it was a great show, but he didn't think Bob opened his eyes once during the whole show!!! P.S. I'll be sure to share whatever you send with people who will appreciate it.

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Poster: Rings&Bells Date: Jul 15, 2008 10:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

I've actually always liked Sunrise. However, as a rule, I find her quite unnecessary, especially in Scarlet Begonias, and Playin'.

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Poster: Scrim Date: Jul 15, 2008 5:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Donna is cool with me

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jul 15, 2008 6:15pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

I find her pretty much intollerable with the Dead. With Jerry she was definately better BUT even at her best or on record I just don't think she had all that great of voice. I just don't.

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Poster: joneffer Date: Jul 15, 2008 7:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

I'm with you on that. I cringe when starts blindly wailing! I love Keith, but too bad she had to come along!

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Poster: high flow Date: Jul 15, 2008 4:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

No not always. But at moments, even the most tolerant among us must cringe.

Overall, I'd vote to keep her on the tapes. If there was a Donna filter, I would not use it. That would be like playing god.....or something.

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Poster: SkyDawg Date: Jul 15, 2008 7:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

The times I saw her in concert with the Dead I don't remember thinking she was bad at all, not GREAT, but OK. The tapes are a different story, but everyone in the band had bad shows. I admire her in a way for sticking with it. She couldn't have been all that bad a singer since Elvis had her singing on a few of his records before she joined the band.

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Poster: Donnie L. Date: Jul 15, 2008 8:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

I don't think she was bad, but at times she didn't jive with certian parts of the music. some tunes she was perfect on and other tunes I could do with out...I guess they had her in there becuase of kieth...even though she was a singer in her own right...I guess ERA really had a impact upon the band during that whole 70's era, it seems to coincidental...I always thought she was attractive and I think she still looks good for her age today...I read somewhere that she says she couldn't hear herself well onstage so that's why her pitch wasn't always nails.....could be

Donnie L.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Jul 16, 2008 10:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: -or- How Bad Was...

As long as she stuck to providing background harmonies, she was very good and I thought really served to round out the Dead's sound at the time. However, and this is a big "however", when she would go off and let out an atonal shriek that in no way came close to being on key, I think that she was a massive detriment to the band. Also, the things she could do at the end of Deal could cause elephants to stampede. It seemed that when she became wrapped up in the energy of a particularly hot version (see yesterdays 78 show) and decided to "cut loose", many were convinced that they were witnessing the 7th sign of the Apocalypse. Do her momentary acts of spinal tap-like caterwauling outweigh her contributions with the backing vocals? Not sure, but when I am entranced in a particularly exquisite 74 Playin' and she pops up to "do her thing", my lower intestine crawls up my spinal column and throttles my brain in an attempt to end the pain.

That's just my opinion.

This post was modified by SomeDarkHollow on 2008-07-16 17:06:20

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Jul 16, 2008 8:19am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

lmao

very aptly put Mr. Hollow

:)

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Poster: staggerleib Date: Jul 16, 2008 6:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

The real question, IMHO, has to do with whether Donna was caterwauling, or singing. Truly, she has a good voice. Most notably with the ample compression found on such albums as Cats Under the Stars. But, live, particularly a large number of Playin's running through '78, she had been singly able to bring down a show with her shrieks.

So, I'd have to say that I'm more a Vinnie Defender, than I am a Donna one.

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Poster: secret8476 Date: Jul 16, 2008 6:24am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

LoL well - Vince is a whole nother matter.
Ya know i just found out he died ... and I'm very sad over that. I haven't kept up on news in a long time and when i looked around to see what he was up to- i saw the saddest news ever about him=(
I didn't realize the guy had such a tuff time after Jer died. I'm sure people who loved Pig, didn't like Kieth - and people who really liked Kieth, prolly didn't care for Brent, and everyone who loved Brent, loathed seeing Vince take his spot. That's how that chair went. It was the literal hot seat.
But back to Donna (who I am an avid defender of)- she just seems to catch alot of flak for her role by most who mention her, which is why i asked the Q. I was really glad to see everyone's posts becauses it confirms pretty much what i feel about her overall - which is simply- when she was good, she was one of the better additions to the band, and when she was off, she was one of the worst additions to the band. She was very pivitol=)
Thanks for all the responses though guys=) You all make this place a very enjoyable website to hang out at=)

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Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

here's the thing - when she was at her best, and cats is a good example, especially the out takes, I don't think she really has all that great of a voice.No offesne to her personally because she seems like a lovely lady.

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Poster: Styrofoam Cueball Date: Jul 15, 2008 10:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

I love Donna's contributions...but there are 2 Donnas, really. The pre-hiatus Donna and the post-Hiatus Donna. The early one is trying to be Janis and can't hear herself, and is hard to listen to, yes she is.

After the break, she just sounds fantastic, turning her shrieking to crooning at the end of "Scarlet", harmonizing beautifully with Bobby (Looks Like Rain, Cassidy) or with Jerry (Comes A Time, the end of Half-Step). So I think any Donna performances from 1975-1979 are safe and in fact, beautiful. Before that, you're on your own, heads. ;-)

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Jul 16, 2008 6:22am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Styro Cue hit the nail on the head for me. not sure i ever consciously thought of it that way. post hiatus, donna really did mellow out and use her decent voice to the best of her ability and complimented certain songs very very well.

73-74 were particularly bad - i would most certainly use a donna filter during some of each and every show i have ever heard from that time period.

and yeah, with JGB she was good - not many instances i can think of that i would use a "filter"


mornin' y'all

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Poster: jglynn1.2 Date: Jul 16, 2008 10:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Hey Dire, we need to find a Donna Tennessee Jed for you so you can wear out your player listening to what you love!!

hehehehehe

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Jul 16, 2008 10:16am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

there is no doubt in my mind that that would lead me straight back to the bottle - no doubt at all

t'would be cruel and unusual pusnishemnt such as forbidden by the league of nations, geneva convention, UN, and the mickey mouse club

:)

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Poster: yesss! Date: Jul 15, 2008 7:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

yeah, i like her too. i think that she added a lot to certain songs and feel that people often blame her for harmony problems that she was not responsible for. i think that captain short-shorts is more often the culprit if we're going to point fingers, but he's, like, one of the boys so he gets a pass. the weird thing about donna for me is that she had to either just stand there and watch during jams or come on and off of the stage frequently. give that chick a shaker or tambourine or something! i never saw the band back then but i suspect that it would have been distracting. but yeah, i'm down with donna. you go girl!

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Poster: fenario80 Date: Jul 16, 2008 10:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Yes, yes she was.

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jul 16, 2008 2:30pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Gotta chime in on Donna.

If you're really iobjective about it--listening to the tapes--she was generally out of tune & a distraction. The shrieking is indefensible.

HOWEVER...there are indications she was a good singer...perhaps never great--but on some studio recordings--notably the outtake version "The way you do the things you do" on the Jerry 5-CD compilation, she is very sweet and harmonious...and as noted, some JGB performances are quite nice '77 and '78 especially.

But Brent blended so much better w/Jerry's voice....just listen to the choruses and compare on tunes like "Stella"...see who does the "shine" chorus beautifully, and who butchers it completely.

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Poster: Dhamma1 Date: Jul 15, 2008 5:09pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

I'm generally a Donna-defender. Even the awful 73-74 shreiks can be considered as the little seed of yin buried in the heart of yang (you know: the yin/yang symbol). Here are my notes on shows where I thought she was particularly good:

1973-03-21
Utica Memorial Auditorium. Laid back & leisurely but crystal clear & focused. From the jams, I assume they were very tripped out. Donna is excellent.


1976-06-29
Auditorium Theatre, Chicago. A Betty Board with marvelous sound and very nice performances. Really sweet versions of the classic first set songs, especially slow ones such as Peggy-O, Mission in the Rain, and Looks Like Rain (in which Donna is beautiful).
" target=_blankhttp://www.archive.org/details/gd76-06-29.sbd.bertha.31144.sbeok.flacf>;

1976-09-27 Community War Memorial Auditorium
Rochester, NY
Laidback, mellow performances. Donna sings pretty harmonies on Looks Like Rain, All Over Now, and the first set standards.

1977-05-09
Memorial Auditorium, Buffalo
Exquisite sound and inspired performances. Perhaps my favorite Uncle John's Band. Donna is excellent.


5/17/77...

5/25/77...

11/6/77.. (downloadable)

1977-12-27
Winterland
dr. flashback wrote, "Even Donna is good tonight - I'm not kidding!


1978-12-30
Pauley Pavilion, UCLA. Donna is lovely: one of my favorite Scarlet>Fires - awe-inspiring. [don't know exactly when I noted this; I wonder if I would still say it today]

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Poster: user unknown Date: Jul 15, 2008 5:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad ?

Donna definitely had her nice moments with Grateful Dead. She also had her cacophonous atrocities, though many of those were Bobby-Donna screech-fests. Her performances with JGB were much more relaxed and showed her talent in a much clearer light.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 16, 2008 9:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad...I think so...

I would drop her contributions in an instant if possible. I understand the comments about pre break and post break, but still don't see the value. The bad trumps the good, IMHO.

Now, I used to be one that would at least defend the "good" (eg, harmonies on RowJimmy from 73 box). However, having played that for a number of folks that can sing (women and men; professional and strict amateurs) and they UNIVERSALLY maintain that she could NOT sing. Now, they are folks I trust, and admittedly I don't know shit about singing, but they argue that she is offkey and offtune in even her best efforts.

I just don't know enough about that aspect--I still like what I perceive to be the "good" efforts on her part, and have only this small sample of folks to go on, but it caused me to wonder...I know that defining "good" singing is subjective (ie, what we "like"), but at some level, there are objective means to quality and quantify it (is it "good" in the sense of notes and timing, etc., etc.), and I am no longer certain she would measure up...

My very biased two cents worth...

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Poster: high flow Date: Jul 16, 2008 1:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad...I think so...

Nobody in this band was allowed to sing in the correct key...Donna was just fitting in.

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Poster: direwolf0701 Date: Jul 16, 2008 1:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad...I think so...

word!


(fuck dude - your theory may actually be correct!!! i am impressed Mr. Holmes) - errr, not John Holmes I hope you realize

;)

This post was modified by direwolf0701 on 2008-07-16 20:33:35

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 16, 2008 1:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Was Donna THAT Bad...I think so...

This is true.